More on the differences between reading a book and reading on the internet…
I was reflecting about what it is I like about reading blogs. Something I hadn’t thought of before – a blog post is like a sketch – incomplete, open, promising ideas, suggestive, an impression to be used for further thought. It doesn’t replace a published book, nor should it. Books are wonderful, complete, well-thought out, often definitive writings. I have books on my must-read list, and look forward to devoting myself to them completely. Sometimes, though, I feel pressured after I’ve bought a book; I feel obliged to read it, from start to finish, obliged to give my full attention to it out of respect for the author, or at least because I’ve paid for it. Occasionally this detracts from my enjoyment, particularly when guilt creeps in.
Blog reading is like dipping here and there, like enjoying tapas as opposed to sitting down to the main meal. Blog posts in themselves are snippets of thought and opinion, allowing for impromptu reflection, without the pressures of serious writing. My Google Reader is bulging ridiculously, but it allows me to dip here and there, unpressured, enjoying every moment.
I was reading Jonathan Jones’ blog at guardian.co.uk, Art and design. In his latest post he talks about the science writer, Richard Fortey. Here’s what he says about Fortey’s talent as a writer, and I think this could easily apply to good blog writing:
The strength of Fortey as a popular science writer is that he is a real writer. His prose is playful, seductive, digressive and literate.
The blogs I enjoy reading the most – not for their information, but for their writing – demonstrate these qualities. And I’m beginning to realise that being digressive in blog writing is not a bad thing – it’s sharing more of your ongoing interests and changing focus, and therefore more of yourself, with the reader. The blogs I love to read are those whose authors generously share of themselves, and so reading the blog is synonymous with reading the person.
What do you like about blog writing?